Friday, April 17, 2015

Watercolor Paint Pens and A Kite

I recently found these paint pens stuffed in the wee back corner of my cabinet.  I had bought these several years ago. Figuring they were mostly dried out I brought them to the art table and gave them a whirl.  To my surprise half of them were still in working order!

I set out to find the best material to create on.

Tracing paper worked so well.  It dried within minutes.  Perfect combo for impatient preschoolers!  As a group we decided to make some simple kites with our paintings.

How to make a simple kite shape:
1. Fold your paper in half lengthwise.
2. Fold as you see in the picture.  (I tried typing it out, but kept deleting because it made no sense.  It was trial and error for me to get the folds right, so just play with it until you get the right shape.)
3. When you unfold it should take the shape of a diamond.  This took me several attempts, btw. ;)
4. I added decorative tape around the edges and then the children cut the extra paper off the corners.

These look stunning in the window!  Add a bit of ribbon for a kite tail if you choose.

We also found that the pens worked really well on paper cupcake liners.  Add a stem (and a bit of glitter) to make a purdy flower!

This post was not to endorse the particular brand, I just really, really loved these paint pens! :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Cloud Art and Cloud Math

We've painted with shaving cream in class many times.  One of my favorites is to do the shaving cream, paint, swirl, print, scrap method.  That is really fun!  I really love adding glue to shaving cream like pictured below.  It makes the cream a bit stiff, much like when making meringue.  I was about to add some paint when I realized that the gel shaving cream I used gave us a blue tint already!  Perfect. And by the way...I had to also use some of the cheaper stuff and it didn't give off as good of a result as the gel.

I don't measure either.  I filled a bowl with cream and then dumped some glue on top and gave it a stir.  Then I plopped it on the child's paper.  Some looked at me like, what's next?  What am I suppose to do?  I replied with a "Whatever you want.".  How brave.  :)

Fortunately for me I have some pretty well behaved kids.  Earlier in the day we discussed clouds and the shapes of them.  Some children made their clouds stay fluffy like pictured above.  Some decided they wanted clouds more like fog and rubbed the cloud paint almost into oblivion.  After they washed their hands they came back to add some cotton balls.  Because of the glue, the cream stays fluffy and the cotton balls stick.

Pulling or "fluffing" cotton balls is an excellent fine motor skill for preschoolers.  They struggle a bit with the pulling apart.  I showed them how to control their pull, "Pull as lightly as a cloud" I would whisper. I also told them this was a good activity to give them control and muscles in their fingers.  Followed by "Why do we need muscles in our fingers?".   My answer, "So you can write novels that I'll read when I'm an old lady.".  :)

On one of our shelves I set this cloud matching game.
To make the cloud cards I found a simple cloud template and added them to squares.  Cut the squares, laminate for sturdiness (always).  In a neighboring basket I added cotton rounds (you could also use cotton balls).  Count out the number of clouds to match each card.

We read these books to go with our "cloudy day".

This is part of our weather unit.  To see some more weather related activities check here!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Nuby Sea Scooper Review

I am so excited to begin a new journey as product reviewer for Nuby!  I first starting using Nuby when my son (Pickle) was born 4 years ago and have continued to use with Little Dear who just turned 1. I've loved all the products, so it was a no brainer to say YES to Nuby when approached to review their products.  I'm also really excited to bring a personal side to my blog with my own children as the models and real life product testers!

Without further first review!

We tested out the Sea Scooper Bath Toy Scooper.  We used it in the tub.  We put our head in it. We threw it across the tub. And as it's purpose, we scooped up toys with it.  Then it got hot outside.  We put it in the pool!

It was quite fun with the Little Dear (1 yr old). A fun game to teach little ones is how to PUT TOYS IN.  We all know they can take/dump toys out, so naturally we should teach them to put them back in. :)

The top of the Sea Scooper has a handle that is easy enough for Little Dear to hold and pick up.  Pickle (4 yr old) loved making the whale "eat" the toys.

The Sea Scooper comes with a snazzy clip that adheres to the shower wall and then allows you to attach the whale with toys inside to dry completely (and out of the way) until next time.

You can purchase the Nuby Sea Scooper Bath Toy Scooper at these retailers:

{Note: I am not affiliated with any of the above stores.  I do not receive compensation from them if you decide to buy through their site.}

Oh, and guess what else....

To find out about more Nuby products hop on any of their social media platforms
Facebook \\ Twitter \\ Instagram \\ Pinterest 

Disclosure: I received this product for a review, but all opinions are my own.  

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

DIY Recycled Wind Car

I love showing the children in my school how to use trash as materials to build, create or craft.  I've been saving all these baby food pouch lids knowing I'd come up with something (or find someone else who had) to use them with.  I found this cute little car idea and knew what we had to do!

I also wanted to have the kids help me come up with a way to get this car rolling.  We tried a few different ways to get the wheels to turn.  It was such a great STEM project.  I then brought out some flat cardboard...and then bingo!  I remembered my love of coffee sleeves...VOILA! 

Materials Needed:

Start off by pinching the coffee sleeves so it makes a shape like this:

Next poke your pipe cleaner through the bottom of the sleeve.

Poke the pipe cleaner through the sides of the plastic bag, to make a sail.  It helps to bend the tops over to make it stay tight.  Make sense?

Your smoothie straw should fit snug inside each pouch cap.  Some of ours didn't fit quite right, so we had to use some force. :)

Looking at it from this angle it kind of reminds me of the Flintstones car!  

The kids had such a great time blowing their wind cars.  We had a great discussion on how to create wind, too.  At home my son was able to put his outside on a windy day and it zoomed down the driveway!  Such fun!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Recycled Cardboard Tube Train

Choo!  Choo!  All Aboard!

A few years ago we made an egg carton train.  It got quite a bit of re-pins and likes on Pinterest.  (blush)  I decided to amp it up a bit.  Plus, the health department doesn't allow us to use egg cartons anymore. :(  While looking for a new idea I was inspired by this cute train.  Now cardboard tubes I can use! I also searched my supplies for smokestacks and wheels.  Our result....

Cut rectangles out of the top of the tube and paint!  Add your additional pieces with hot glue for optimized stability. 

Can you believe I had film canisters!?!  Thanks T4T!   

Caps, Caps, Caps for days!  I am always looking for something to do with these, as I have a sweet grandma that collects these for our school.  She has given me about 3 bags a year for the last 6 years. You can imagine my collection.

All Aboard!  Perfect little ride for some animals.  

Monday, March 9, 2015

Get Brainy Kit: Polar Box Review

Have you heard of the Get Brainy Kit box?  It's a Montessori themed kit mailed directly to your home.  I was able to get a box and play around with it for awhile and write a review.  Now, first and for most.  I NEVER write reviews on things that I will not use or stand behind.  Secondly, research. Take a look around the Get Brainy Kit website.  You'll see why I chose to do a review on this gem of a company.  Third, I am excited to do this with my son and not have to share it with an entire class.. hee hee.  :)
When I received my first Get Brainy Kit I was shocked at all the materials they gave you!  So many possibilities.  Being a seasoned teacher I could immediately see all the activities I could do with my son.  Even my 1 year old daughter could get some use out of some of the materials.  The best comes with 7 lesson plans!  Within each lesson plan there are numerous activities that you can choose from.
Without further is a SMALL snippet of what we did just on the first day!

This is a photo of what came in my box.  A ton of materials smashed into this photo. A beautiful book, laminated cards, laminated Venn diagram, wooden Montessori puzzle, Instant Snow (!!), small arctic animals, puzzle, stickers w/background, glue stick for an art project and of course, the detailed bound lesson plans.

I rolled out a make shift Montessori Mat and set out our arctic pals. I asked him questions about what he saw, where he thought the animals lived, etc.  After about 5 minutes of exploring he started sorting the animals.  This led to us getting our snow out!

We both LOVED this activity.  I then asked him similar questions again.  He pointed out to me there was no water for his whale, so we came up with a solution.  (I read further into the lesson plans where it suggested getting a bowl to represent the ocean.)  Smart kid!  We will revisit this activity several times this week to keep the conversation going.

These beautiful laminated cards have so many possibilities.  The quality is top-notch!

My son called this his map.  Which led to us talking about where the animals live and play.  There were even enough stickers left over for him to put in his "sticker collection box". :)

So, yes this review is highly recommended.  If you like to have materials sent to you, have detailed (VERY detailed) lesson plans ready for you and give your child a well thought out, fun, educational experience this is right up your alley!

For more information on the Get Brainy Box go to their website!

Happy Playing!

DIY Table Easel

Do you ever look at cardboard with wonder and thoughts of possibilities?  I laugh at my husband because he knows better than to put something in the trash/recycle bin before asking me if I could use if for something.  He's so sweet. :)

I received 3 amazingly long and sturdy pieces of cardboard.  Each had 3 specific folds.  Hmm....I started immediately configuring different ways to do something cool.

And then, EUREKA!  I had a stellar idea.  I waited to write this post to make sure these would stand the test of time (re:preschoolers using them for months).

So here we have it folks...DIY Table Easels.

After I folded them in thirds, I went back and hot-glued the areas that overlapped.  I then added a piece of strong tape to the top and hot-glued clothespins to act as the paper holder.

Side view to show you how to fold the cardboard.  You want to make sure there are two straight sides and then one angled.

In action!